By John Book
Six (Konnex) is the sixth album Michael Jefry Stevens (piano), Jeff “Siege” Siegel (drums), and Tim Ferguson (bass) have recorded together as a 3-piece unit, even though they have done many other projects together in some combination for years. I know when I see any of their names, it’s in my mind a musical event, and together it means “stop what I’m doing, it’s time to listen to fantastic musicianship.”
As with previous albums together, they mix in their original songs along with classic jazz gems, in this case we have Thelonious Monk‘s “Straight No Chaser”, and the pop standard “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (made famous by, among many, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole). I think what I like the most about these three is the anticipation one has for their playing individually and as a unit, as if you’re friends of theirs and you’re encouraging them to a school yard battle. You don’t want to see them fight, but this battle is a must. You don’t care about who gets hurt, it’s about the goal of winning, and these three play as if there’s no tomorrow, but with such a spirit and dedication to jazz that you want to know when they’ll record or perform next. Think of any master of jazz, be it Phil Woods, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Jack DeJohnette, or anyone, and you hear the echoes of them in Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson, whose reverberations on this album will soon be heard in the next generations of jazz to come.